Sunday Messenger

January 7, 2024

Second Day of Theophany 

The 3 Ways to Bethlehem
by Mesrop Vartabed Parsamyan

The Bible provides us several different roads to reach Bethlehem.

The first way is described by the evangelists Matthew, by the image of the Magi, who as I stated previously, were called wise men. They were the scientists of their time and were studying the stars and planets as well as predicting the future. Fundamentally, they were considered the intellectually elite of the time. The story of the Magi indicates that some people may reach the Bethlehem manger by way of science, research, and knowledge. Indeed, you have probably heard people express that there exists a gap between religion and science. Some scientists even say that an intelligent man cannot be a man of faith. From experience and history, however, we know that numerous people have found the very way to Bethlehem as a result of science. Yes, one can be a scientist and a believer! Even today, many leading scientists are people of great faith. Those scholars who have eyes to see and follow the light of the Lord do reach Bethlehem, and science is not bothering them, but rather helping. The famous French naturalist, scientist, philosopher and theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin arrived at the following conclusion: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

The second way to Bethlehem is reported by Luke the Evangelist. He writes that Joseph and Mary embarked on a journey to Bethlehem to fulfill their civic duty, to pay taxes, and to be registered for a census proclaimed by Caesar Augustus. Indeed, the journey to faith passes also through our daily lives; by our being law-abiding citizens of United States of America, fulfilling our civic duty, taking care as parents of our children, loving and honoring our parents and family in our roles as children, honoring and expressing gratitude to our neighbor, loving each other, and just going outside and greeting people with a warm smile…

In this humble and simple way, God reveals himself to us, works miracles in our lives and leads us to the manger of Bethlehem — to the cradle of our faith. Mary and Joseph didn’t think that seven hundred years ago the prophet Micah prophesied that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem. No, it was just their civic duty to go to Bethlehem, and God worked a miracle in that way. He gave a Savior to the world, a bread for eternal life in the city of Bethlehem, which, you may know, means “house of bread.”

There is yet another way to Bethlehem, the way of the shepherds, who went to Bethlehem receiving direct revelation. They received a vision from God, in which the angels announced the good news: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) Such revelations are not frequent happenings. In fact, they are given only to those pure in heart, as it says in the Beatitudes. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Shepherds came to deep faith through a supernatural, spiritual experience. This, then, is the excellent way to Bethlehem.

Of course, the Magi, the scientist, could cast doubt on the experience of the shepherds, who, in turn, could lessen the intellectual journey of the wise men. Neither the wise men nor the shepherds, however, had any reason to disapprove of the journey of the Holy Family, who were just fulfilling their civic duty: going to be registered and pay their taxes.

In the life of faith, everyone is traveling his way, but what is important is that at the end of the journey all of us find ourselves together in Bethlehem, not at the Dead End of unbelief.

During the season of Advent, we are all invited to travel our personal “road to Bethlehem.” When we arrive at our destination on Christmas Day, we will hopefully be closer to the Lord than when we began the journey.

Today’s Bible Readings:

Acts 6:8-8:2 – New Testament

John 12:24-26 – New Testament – (Please follow the Armenian Reading in your Bible)

Fellowship Today: Fellowship today is sponsored by Robert & Elizabeth Barone to honor their son, Robbie Barone, who is serving as Godfather of the Cross for this year.

With Love, We Remember – Please join us on Sunday, January 14 for our annual Day of Remembrance in which we honor the memory of those in our community who passed away in 2023. Immediately following the Divine Liturgy, there will be a brief candle-lighting service and hokehankisd. Through this ceremony, now in its 10th year, the entire Holy Trinity Parish shares in each family’s loss and remembers all the departed with love, gratitude, and consoling prayer.

Prayer Request – We ask our faithful to continue to pray for Shoghig Terjimanian, the mother of Dn. Armen, who recently suffered a brain bleed at her home in Michigan. Please pray for her return to good health and strength for her family.(1/14)

Reminder – According to the Diocesan Bylaws, membership dues are to be paid no later than December 31st each year in order to be a member in “good standing” and to be eligible to vote at the annual assembly. Any monies received after that date will be applied to the new year.  For any questions regarding your status, please call the church office.

Renovations are Complete – The newly remodeled restrooms are available for use. Each one is now a “Single-Use”, Family-type Restroom and is Handicap accessible. This upgrade means anyone can use either restroom. There is a locking mechanism on each door. Other than just washing your hands, we request that you lock the door after you enter. The status of each restroom is visible on the exterior of the door, either “vacant” or “in use”. If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact the church office.(1/14)

Humanitarian Support for Artsakh Ongoing From The Knights And Daughters Of Vartan – As the Azeri government still cracks down on the Armenian people in the nation of Artsakh, the people are not giving up! Please consider making a donation to the Knights and Daughters of Vartan Call to Action Committee! Donations will go towards humanitarian aid. For further information please visit the Knights and Daughters of Vartan website @

Mail your donations to Knights of Vartan, Mr. Ronald Nazeley,Treasurer, 558 Kentwood Bluffs Drive, Los Angeles 90045.

Artsakh Support Desperately Needed – Since early this year, we have closely followed the news from and about Artsakh. We prayed often, deeply and fervently. We didn’t know what else to do. Our hearts broke when the unimaginable happened and Artsakh was lost to us. Now is our time to help the thousands of refugees who had to flee to mainland Armenia to seek a safe haven. They left their homes and most of their belongings forever. We are appealing to our faithful to give generously from your heart to help our sisters and brothers who have given their all.

Checks should be made to Holy Trinity Armenian Church, Memo: Artsakh, and brought or mailed to church. Online donations can be made by going to, go to donations, scroll down to Open Donation and enter Artsakh.

Pastor’s Weekly ZOOM Bible Study – Bible study will resume on January 10, 2024. Even though we are not meeting together on ZOOM this week, please continue to enrich your knowledge by revisiting what we have already learned. Share what you have learned with family and friends.

The Kiss of Peace – After the gifts of the Eucharist are brought to the Altar Table, the deacon proclaims, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.”  The person giving the greetings says, Kristos ee mech mer Haydnetsav – Christ is revealed amongst us.  The recipient would respond, Orhnial eh Haydnootiunun Kristosee – Blessed is the revelation of Christ.

The Nicene Creed/ Havadamk – This is the Profession of our Faith which is recited every Sunday moments after the Gospel is read from the altar. Sometimes it is sung, but more often it is recited by the Deacons and/or the Choir.  We invite you to affirm your own “Profession of Faith” by reciting along with us.  God longs for all of us to express our faith and devotion to Him.

Seeking Part-time Organists – the Choir of Holy Trinity continues to seek multiple talented musicians who would be seriously interested in playing the organ for the Sunday morning Divine Liturgy (Badarak) on a rotating schedule. Organ lessons will be provided to the interested candidates, along with one-on-one direction from a senior choir person.  For further information, contact Karinne Andonian @

~~~~~~~~~~TODAY’S EVENTS~~~~~~~~~~

Water Blessing Service

Church School Christmas Pageant

Jan 5 – Armenian Christmas Eve – 6:00pm
Jan 6 – Armenian Christmas – 10:30am
Jan 14 – Annual Day of Remembrance – following Badarak